The Ethics of Euthanasia

Essay by spradlingHigh School, 11th gradeA+, June 2005

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Is euthanasia moral? Does anybody have the right to make the decision of life or death for another person? Should euthanasia be legal? Do religions accept euthanasia? These are just a few of the questions I will investigate in this essay.

According to the dictionary, euthanasia is: 'The bringing out a gentle and painless death of a person suffering from a painful, incurable disease.'

There are two main types of euthanasia. Active and passive. Active euthanasia is when the patient it conscious and want's to end his suffering. Passive is when the patient us unconscious so therefore the decision of euthanasia is not make by himself. Here I will try to focus on passive euthanasia. Statistics

There are many different opinions on euthanasia:

The following graph shows us the people's view on euthanasia throughout the years. It is divided according their religion.

?We can conclude by this graph that the acceptance of euthanasia is generally high and that it has been increasing throughout the years.

The following graph gives shows us many doctors points of views.

As a doctor, are you in favor of euthanasia??

This graph tells us that in general, doctors do not agree with euthanasia. This next graph is even more interesting.

If euthanasia was legal, would you be prepared to perform it??

Using these graphs I came to the conclusion that more than fifty-percent of people agree with euthanasia, but that the experts, doctors, do not. Should it be Legal?

Another issue which brings conflict is the question of whether or not euthanasia should be legal.

In most counties it is illegal or a law does not even exist on euthanasia. Exactly 4 years ago (April 10, 2001) the Netherlands became the first country to legalize euthanasia. Obviously is came with certain conditions.


'Doctors are not supposed to suggest euthanasia as an option and a patient must be aware of all other medical options and have sought a second professional opinion.

The request would have to be made voluntarily, persistently and independently while the patient is of sound mind.

Patients can however leave a written request for euthanasia, giving doctors the right to use their own discretion when patients become too physically or mentally ill to decide for themselves.'

Belgium soon followed and legalized euthanasia as well. In the state of Oregon physician-assisted suicide has been legal since the year 1997.

My Point of View

I strongly agree with the Netherlands law. I think that euthanasia should be legal; with some restrictions of course.

Ideally I think it should work in the following way:

If the patient in in suffering and has no chance of ever getting better than he should be more than allowed to end his own life. If someone want's to kill himself than he will, there is nothing stopping him. Physician-assisted suicide would be a lot less painful for the patient and would not cause messes everywhere from people jumping out of buildings or shooting themselves.

If the patient is unconscious and doctors have are sure that he will probably never wake up then the patient may be killed only if you has a written note made in assistance of a lawyer saying that he would like his life taken away in that particular situation. If this note does not exist and his family would like to take away his life then they would have to speak to a lawyer and go to court.